11th May 2018

Department for Education

Boost in support for children with additional needs, 10th May: News Story

New measures to boost support for children and young people with additional needs have been announced, setting out the next steps in the government’s drive to give every child the tools to fulfil their potential.

The new contracts announced, worth more than £25 million, will build on the progress already made over the last four years.

These include:

  • A contract worth £20million with the Council for Disabled Children, in partnership with Contact, to provide families and young people with SEND with impartial advice, support and information about the services and support on offer.

  • A £3.8million contract with Contact, in partnership with KIDS and the Council for Disabled Children, to promote and develop strategic participation by young people and parent carers.

  • A SEND school workforce contract with nasen and University College London (UCL), on behalf of the Whole School SEND consortium, worth £3.4million over two years - to bring together schools, voluntary organisations and experts so that schools can deliver high-quality SEND.

Alongside these new contracts, the Department has developed new tools in partnership with nasen and Action for Children to create a job description and specification for Level 3 Early Years Special Educational Needs Coordinators (SENCOs).

Minister for Children and Families, Nadhim Zahawi said:

‘……We want every child to have the support they need to unlock their potential, no matter what challenges they face. Today’s data shows that almost all of SEN statements were reviewed on time, which is testament to the hard work of councils their partners and families all over the country to give children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) the support they deserve….’

Statements of SEN transferring to EHC plans: 31 March 2018, 10th May

In summary, there were 236,225 Statements on 31 August 2014, at the start of the transition period.

To end of March 2018 - 232,352 Statements (98.4%) have either been:

a) Transferred to an EHC plan

b) Assessed and a decision made not to transfer to an EHC plan

c) Discontinued because they have left school at the end of compulsory schooling, or after

d) Reviewed and discontinued as special needs being met without Statement or EHC plan or for other reasons.

GCSE new grading scale: factsheets, 11th May

Updated to reflect the new GCSE qualifications being examined for the first time this summer.

The fact sheet provides details on:

  • The new GCSE grading scale

  • Standard and strong pass marks and what this means for students, schools, parents and employers

  • When the new grades will apply to different subjects

Supporting mental health in schools and colleges, 8th May: Research.

The document has been updated to add Pen portraits for provision in schools. It provides useful case studies of how schools have addressed pupil mental health- the impact it has had and how you might implement this type of approach in your school.

This research aimed to gather detailed qualitative case studies of mental health provision that would illustrate achievable practice that can happen in schools, colleges and other educational institutions. 

There were nine particular elements of interest:

  • Incorporating mental health into the curriculum

  • Having a designated mental health lead

  • Having a single point of contact in external mental health services

  • Engaging parents and caregivers in supporting children’s mental health

  • Identifying mental health need

  • Using universal data and measurement to identify need

  • Offering counselling to support pupils’ mental health

  • Taking a whole school approach to mental health

  •  Having a plan or policy for mental health

Parents' return to work and childcare responsibilities, 10th May: Research and analysis

This is a report on a rapid evidence review undertaken by the Institute for Employment Studies on behalf of the Government Equalities Office, examining parents’ decisions to return to work.

Findings show that:

  • The point in time at which parents return to work, or wish to return to work is influenced by a range of factors, including, but not limited to, social attitudes, the age of the child or children, ethnicity, and the availability of maternity pay and maternity leave.

  • A child’s age, particularly in the case of low-income parents, is a significant influencing factor for when (or if) a parent returns to work. Low pay, lack of job/work flexibility and other child associated factors including health or behavioural problems with children, may all negatively affect the decision whether to return to work.

  • New mothers are most likely to move from full-time to part-time work compared with other groups of women, although there is some variation by occupation, and new mothers often cite part-time work as a means of maintaining a ‘balance’ between work and childcare.

  • Formal childcare arrangements include the use of nurseries, day-care and childminders, whilst informal arrangements involve parents drawing on their immediate and extended family (i.e. their own parents/grandparents) and broader social networks (friends/neighbours) to provide childcare. 

Nick Gibb speech at launch of Midland Knowledge Hub, 10th May

The Midland Knowledge Hub- has grown out of Parents and Teachers for Excellence- an organisation of parents, teachers and head teachers devoted to the development of a knowledge rich curriculum.

Nick Gibb spoke about the need for this type of curriculum:

‘……..So ensuring that every child – particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds – is endowed with the cultural capital they need for success is at the heart of the movement. A desire for social justice and equality of opportunity is why we want a knowledge-rich curriculum for all pupils. All pupils deserve a broad and balanced curriculum that introduces them to the wonders of physics, the majesty of music and the great works of literature……’

He concluded with the advantages of developing a knowledge rich curriculum in the words of Andrew Percival – head of curriculum in a primary school in the North West – shared through his blog:

  • We will know exactly what is taught across school in every subject in every year group. There will be clarity in definitions and terminology to reduce variation from year group to year group.

  • We will have a much clearer sense of the progression in each subject from Reception to Year 6.

  • We will know exactly which resources are needed throughout the year so can ensure these are purchased well in advance.

  • We can ensure that threads are woven carefully through the curriculum e.g. the concepts of ‘parliament’ and ‘civilisation’ will exist in multiple History units in different year groups to ensure they are remembered for the long term.

  • We can ensure greater consistency in the curriculum across school from one year to the next.

  • We can be more confident that our children make good progress in foundation subjects developing robust knowledge and vocabulary.

Schools Minister announces boost to computer science teaching, 6th May: Press Release

Organisations are invited to run the first National Centre of Computing Education, School Standards Minister Nick Gibb announced. The national centre, along with 40 leading schools across the country, will help improve teaching of the computing curriculum and is supported by a new programme which will train up to 8000 computing teachers on the latest digital skills.

Nick Gibb said:

‘……….On Monday 14 May, pupils will start sitting the new computer science GCSE for the first time after working towards it since 2016. This qualification has replaced the ICT GCSE and now includes more challenging content, such as coding and computer programming. This is to ensure that pupils that take this GCSE are better prepared for further education, higher education and beyond……’

Today’s announcement follows on from the Autumn Budget, during which £84 million was committed to upskill computer science teachers. The National Centre of Computing Education will be a major part of this commitment, providing resources at primary and secondary level. Linked to this centre will be a national network of 40 school-led Computing Hubs where teachers will be able to access specialist training which will benefit pupils. Some of the funding will also be used for an A- level support programme.

This announcement also looks to fulfil one of the aims of the Industrial Strategy, which is to invest in maths, digital and technical education and to help generate well paid, highly skilled jobs across the country.

Work on the National Centre is expected to start during autumn 2018, with the first training available in the 2018/19 academic year.

Schools that work for everyone, Consultation Outcome, 11th May

It details a package of measures which are intended to foster cross-sector collaboration in order to improve outcomes for pupils across the education system and create new good school places that are accessible for all children of all backgrounds (see agreements below with ISC and Grammar School Heads).

For families who are’ just about managing’, the Department for Education will continue to work with the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to make methodological improvements to the dataset. At its heart, the action set out here in response to the range of Schools that Work for Everyone proposals aims to deliver a stronger partnership between different parts of the education system in local areas, to raise standards across the system and to create new good school places in areas where they are needed. It aims to make sure that parents have choice, and that children from all backgrounds are able to access the best education in which every child has a school place which fits their talents, needs and interests.

Memorandum of understanding between DfE and Grammar School Heads Association, 11th May

Both parties have a shared ambition to see:

  • More pupils from lower income backgrounds applying to, passing the test for, and being admitted to selective schools

  • Increased partnerships between selective schools and non-selective secondary schools and/or primary schools locally, with a view to collaborating to improve outcomes for children across their area

The purpose of the joint working between GSHA and DfE is to:

  • Accelerate progress from selective schools around fair access and partnership, understanding and helping to overcome any barriers

  • Continue to build the evidence base of what works in these areas

  • Encourage and strengthen good practice within the sector

Joint understanding between DfE and Independent Schools Council (ISC), 11th May 2018

This understanding demonstrates a commitment on the part of ISCassociations, on behalf of member schools, to support the raising of educational standards in state schools where independent schools have the capability and capacity to provide expertise and resource and a commitment on the part of government to creating circumstances under which this can operate most effectively.

Department for Education- FE

Post-16 education: highest level of achievement by age 25, 10th May 2018

This research uses ‘Longitudinal education outcomes’ (LEO) data, which compares students’ level of education to their level of employment and earnings in later life. It looks at a group of people who took their GCSEs in 2004 to 2005. It describes their:

  • Educational achievement at GCSE

  • Educational achievement by ages 18, 23 and 25

  • Achievements in the labour market in the 2016 to 2017 tax year

In summary findings showed:

  • Students who achieved 5 good GCSEs and an academic level 3 tended to go on to achieve level 6 or higher by age 25; those who did not achieve 5 GCSEs typically reached level 3 at best.

  • Just 8 per cent of those without 5 GCSEs achieved level 4 or higher by age 25, while 75 per cent for those with 5 GCSEs and an academic level 3 achieved a level 6 or higher

  • Higher levels of education by age 23 are associated with better labour market outcomes.

  • This is true for students with bottom, middle and top attainment in GCSE examinations at age 15. The difference in outcomes between level 6 and lower levels is greatest for those in the top GCSE attainment group.

  • Earnings and labour market outcomes for students at level 4 and 5 are positive in comparison to level 3, and, for middle GCSE attainment students, similar to those for level 6.

  • The number of students who achieved level 4 or level 5 as their highest qualification is very small compared to the numbers who achieved level 3 and level 6.

Apprenticeship reform programme: benefits realisation strategy, 9th May

This has been updated to include government aims for apprenticeship reform and summarises how this will benefit employers and apprentices. This strategy outlines a range of high-level indicators of success for the programme, measured in positive outcomes for participants. The update includes the benefit realisation report covering February 2018 to May 2018.

Department for Education - Statistics

Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2017

Provisional information on the 2017 phonics screening check and assessments at key stage 1, including breakdowns by pupil characteristics.

Key findings show:

  • Overall more than 9 in 10 pupils meet the expected standard in phonics by the end of year 2

  • At key stage 1 more girls reach the expected standard than boys in all subjects. The subject with the largest difference in attainment by gender continues to be writing, with a gap of 14 percentage points between girls (75%) and boys (61%). The attainment gap is 9 percentage points in reading, with 80% of girls and 71% of boys reaching the standard, and 5 percentage points for science, with 85% of girls and 80% of boys reaching the standard. The gap is narrowest for mathematics at 2 percentage points, in which 76% of girls reached the standard compared to 74% of boys. These gaps all remained the same in 2017 compared to 2016.

  • More pupils with FSM met the expected standard in all subjects in 2017 compared to 2016. In 2017, the attainment gap is 17 percentage points in reading, 18 percentage points in mathematics, and 19 percentage points in writing. The attainment gap increased slightly by 1 percentage point in writing and remained the same in mathematics and reading compared to 2016. 

  • More pupils with SEN met the expected standard in all subjects in 2017 compared to 2016. In 2017, the attainment gap is 53 points in reading, 56 points in writing and 51 points in mathematics. The gap has increased across all subjects compared to 2016, by 1 percentage point in reading and mathematics and by 2 percentage points in writing.

See also Phonics screening check and key stage 1 assessments: England 2016, 11th May -which has been republished withupdated 2012 to 2015 data for Gateshead and Northumberland in table 6.

Other Government- Commons Select Committee

Life Chances enquiry, 4th May

The Committee’s inquiry aims to understand the impact that early years education and social policy have on determining children’s life chances. The Committee will examine the Government’s current policies in these areas and make recommendations to promote social justice. The inquiry will focus on early years educational settings but will also consider the role of other services, including health services and services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The Committee invites written evidence on:

  • The role of quality early years education in determining life chances and promoting social justice

  • The importance of support for parents and families, and integration with other services, in prevention and early intervention; and

  • The importance of communication skills and language development

Closing date for submission of evidence: 1stJune


School inspections and outcomes: management information, 11th May

Updated with details of the latest inspections as at 30 April 2018.

Further education and skills inspections and outcomes: management information from December 2015, 10th May

Added management information as at 31 March 2018.


Teenagers shun homework for social media and video games, new survey finds, 11th May, IoE, UCL

The study gathered data from around 3,500 teenagers in the UK. The teenagers, whose lives have been closely followed from birth by the Millennium Cohort Study, run by the Centre for Longitudinal Studies (CLS), were asked to keep a detailed time use diary for one weekday and one weekend day. Around half of the teens surveyed reported spending some time on social media on a weekday. This proportion was considerably higher for girls at six in ten (61%), compared to 39 per cent among boys. One in ten teenagers who reported being on social media had spent upwards of three hours a day online, though the average time spent was 1 hour 21 minutes per day. 

For boys, gaming was an even more popular pastime than social media; almost half (48%) of all boys had spent time on video games, and of these, 12 per cent reported spending in excess of five hours a day gaming. Just one in ten girls had spent some time on video games. 

By comparison, the teenagers’ diaries revealed that just 40 per cent did homework on an average weekday, and that boys were significantly less likely to than their female peers - 35 per cent of boys compared to 44 per cent of girls. Those who did do homework, spent an average of 1 hour 13 minutes doing it.  

A New Generational Contract: The final report of the Intergenerational Commission, 8th May: Resolution Foundation

The report looks at the intergenerational contract, where the young generation support older generations –and children as they develop just as we were supported and nourished when we were young. However, the report warns that increasingly, there is a sense that it is under threat. The threat, the report states comes from poor pay outcomes and rising housing costs amongst other challenges.

International -Wales

The best in Welsh education revealed

Nine education professionals from across Wales win at the Professional Teaching Awards Cymru 2018, 13th May.

130 guests from all four corners of Wales, including 25 finalists, were invited to celebrate excellence in education in a special ceremony held at Hensol Castle. Welsh comedian Tudur Owen and Cabinet Secretary for Education, Kirsty Williams AM revealed the winners of the nine categories.

Lorraine Dalton from Ysgol Esgob Morgan, St Asaph was announced Teacher of the Year, nominated for her hard work and dedication to give pupils the best possible learning opportunities. Lorraine impressed the judges with her unwavering commitment, passion and the tremendous impact she has had on her school, where she started her teaching career 20 years ago.

PaCE scheme is example of our commitment to getting parents back to work - Eluned Morgan, 9th May

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Welsh Language and Lifelong Learning said:

“Our Employability Plan recognises that different people experience different barriers which prevent them entering work. For parents – and mothers in particular - we know these include the availability of jobs with flexible or suitable working hours and the cost of quality childcare, especially if they lack the skills to find work that pays enough to make these costs worthwhile.

“PaCE advisers have been very effective in finding a variety of solutions to overcome childcare barriers, including encouraging employers to consider employing PaCE participants on a part time basis to accommodate childcare commitments and helping with childcare costs so parents can undertake training to improve their employability. This is exactly the sort of individualised approach the Employability Plan is advocating.”



£200,000 to support armed forces children, 8th May

NEW grant funding scheme available to schools and Local Authorities in Wales!


 Key information about the fund:

  • £200k available for 2018/19 academic year

  • Schools submit a grant application providing a breakdown of how they would spend the grant if successful

  • Deadline for applications is 30 June 2018

  • Schools can submit individual applications or in a cluster bid with other schools

  • Funding should be used to help Service children overcome the challenges they face in education as a result of mobility and deployment

  • All maintained schools in Wales with at least one current Service child enrolled are eligible to apply for the grant

  • Further details including instructions, FAQs and the application form can be located on the SSCE Cymru website: http://www.sscecymru.co.uk/supporting-service-children-in-wales-fund

Bid ideas:

  • Staff training

  • Provide additional support with core subject when needed

  • Obtain resources to support Service children when moving schools

  • Purchase resources/IT equipment to help Service children keep in touch with parents during deployment

  • Organise events to engage Service families in the school and local community

  • Provide resources to develop a lunchtime ‘drop in’ support club.

Change Management Masterclass for all Headteachers of ERW Schools, 11th May

The implementation of the new Curriculum in Wales will require a major change in the development and delivery of the curriculum in all schools. To assist schools to prepare for the changes ERW are offering our Headteachers an opportunity to attend a one-day Change Management Masterclass. This will provide Headteachers with an overview of change management to prepare for the new curriculum and will provide tools that they can take away and use within their schools to assist with the change process.


Hack your Wardrobe' Competition Winners, 9th May

Earlier this year GwE ran a competition for all schools that have participated in ‘Cracking the Code’, a Welsh Government initiative whose aim is to increase the number of code clubs operating in schools in Wales. The competition was called ‘Hack your wardrobe’ and entrants had to design a piece of wearable technology that was programmed in some way to perform a task. The winner was Ysgol Trefnant with their 'Star Wars' themed
road safety jacket.

There will be more competitions and events around ‘Cracking the Code’ in future, as well as further opportunities for your school to be involved. For more information, contact Alex Clewett, the ‘Cracking the Code’ coordinator for GwE at alex.clewett@hwbmail.net


Ahoy, matey! Swashbuckling creative writing competition launched for pupils, National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust have teamed up with the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) to launch the Copyright Knights and Plagiarism Pirates creative writing competition for pupils in Key Stages 1-3 across the UK.

The competition, which runs until Thursday 31 May 2018, aims to inspire creative writing and help children understand how copyright protects creativity and why it is wrong to plagiarise. Pupils are asked to either:

  • Become a copyright knight and write a chivalrous code of conduct to let their squires know why it is important to protect creativity; or

  • Become a plagiarism pirate and write a swashbuckling song about what plagiarism is and what happens to the scallywags who do it

To inspire pupils’ creative writing, the National Literacy Trust have worked with ALCS to publish a brand new teaching resource packed full of information, activities and games. It also includes wonderfully designed templates of a shield and a scroll for pupils to write their entries on. 

The pupil who writes the most gallant knight’s code of conduct or swashbuckling pirate song will win £50 worth of book vouchers in addition to prizes for their school including £300 worth of books and two interactive theatre shows from Creative Education UK. 10 runners up will also receive £25 worth of book vouchers each.

The winners will be presented with their treasure trove of prizes at a special event for writers in the House of Commons on Wednesday 27 June to celebrate National Writing Day.

Achievement for All Areas for consideration

Supporting mental health in schools and colleges, 8th May: Research.

The pen portraits in the chapter on engaging parents and caregivers in supporting children’s mental health highlight the benefits in supporting children’s mental health through effective use of the Achievement for All structured conversation model.

 ‘..Around five years ago, the local authority paid for the Therapeutic Education Department to engage with the ‘Achievement for All’ initiative. The programme provided training for staff around how to engage with and improve parental relationships, which renewed the Unit’s focus on working with families. As a result, the Department formalised their own ‘Structured Conversation’, the initial informal conversation with parents to understand their hopes for their child’s time at the Centre. The training also encouraged a more open approach across the Unit……..’ (St. Aubyn Centre).